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Today marks a momentous day in history, as April 3, 1882 marks the day that Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford. James, known as one of the most infamous outlaws of the Wild West, was shot in the back of the head by Ford, a member of his own gang.
The story of Jesse James is one of legend and lore. Born in 1847, he and his brother Frank formed a gang in the 1860s and began a career of bank and train robberies, making them two of the most wanted men in America. As the James Brothers' notoriety grew, so did the bounty on their heads.
Robert Ford, an admirer of Jesse James, joined the gang in 1881, hoping to make a name for himself. But it was Ford who would ultimately be responsible for the outlaw's death. In April 1882, Ford and his brother Charley convinced James to let them into his home, and while James was dusting a picture on the wall, Ford shot him in the back of the head.
Ford was later arrested and charged with murder, but due to a plea bargain, he served only six years in prison. He was eventually pardoned and became a celebrity of sorts, appearing in Wild West shows and even starring in a feature length film about his life.
Jesse James' death marked the end of an era in the Wild West, but his legend lives on to this day. His story has been told in countless books, films, and television shows, and his name is still synonymous with the Wild West.
Today, we remember the life and death of Jesse James and remember the day Robert Ford changed history.